Former Ulysses bank employees accused of embezzlement

7/19/2013

By The Telegram

By The Telegram

Four former employees of a Ulysses bank have been charged by a federal grand jury with embezzlement from the bank and staging a robbery to cover up the thefts, according to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.

The defendants, all former employees of Western State Bank in Ulysses, are:

* Amber Gutierrez, 32, Ulysses, who is charged with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and one count of bank robbery;

* Hattie Wiginton, 32, Ulysses, who is charged with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee, one count of bank robbery, and one count of making a false statement to the FBI;

* Ashley Cravens, 28, Ulysses, who is charged with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and one count of bank robbery;

* Linda Wise, 59, Ulysses, who is charged with one count of embezzlement by a bank employee.

According to the indictment, from 2008 to July 24, 2010, while Gutierrez was head teller and Wiginton and Cravens were clerks, they embezzled up to $84,200 from the bank.

Then on July 24, 2010, Gutierrez, Wiginton and Cravens allegedly staged a robbery at the bank, taking an undetermined amount of cash.

The indictment also alleges that on July 24, 2010, Wiginton made false statements to the FBI, including false claims that she did not know who robbed the bank, that there were two robbers and that one of the robbers was a male with an Hispanic accent.

The indictment also alleges that from late 2010 to March 2013, Gutierrez, Cravens and Wise, who were still bank employees at the time, embezzled $24,450 from the bank. They allegedly created falsified cash deposit slips and deposited funds in their personal accounts.

If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000 on each count of theft by a bank employee; a maximum penalty of 25 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the charge of bank robbery; and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the charge of making a false statement to the FBI.

The FBI, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Grant County Sheriff's Office and the Ulysses Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith is prosecuting.

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